New Florida Bill Would Bring Autonomous Practice for PAs

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, February 1, 2021

A new bill filed in Florida would allow physician assistants (PAs) to gain autonomous practice after meeting certain requirements. Identical bills have been filed in the House and Senate. The house version is known as House Bill 431 (HB 431) and is sponsored by Representative Bob Rommel; the Senate version is known as Senate Bill 894 (SB 894) and is sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz. Both are awaiting assignment to committees for further deliberation. As these both currently share the same language, I will refer to HB 431 when discussing them both.
Last year, Florida adopted autonomous practice for advanced practice registered nurses in a bill known as HB 607; HB 431 appears to provide a similar authorization for PAs. Currently, PAs in Florida require a written agreement with a supervising physician to practice. In the present version of HB 431, PAs can register to practice without physician supervision in certain circumstances. In order to be eligible, the PA must:
Once registered as an “autonomous physician assistant,” the PA would be able to render primary care services independently and without a supervising physician. “Primary care services” include internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, geriatrics and general obstetrics and gynecology practices. Additionally, an autonomous PA can order and prescribe medications based on a formulary. PAs practicing this way must disclose the nature of their practice to new patients and carry professional liability insurance of $100,000 per claim and $300,000 in aggregate.
There is a small but growing trend toward allowing PAs to practice as independent health care providers and not dependent on the supervision of physicians. Typically, these are intended to address underserved rural locations or other health care shortage areas. HB 431 is in line with this trend and, if passed, would allow Florida PAs to independently render primary care services. We will be monitoring this legislation this year.